Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

The Judiciary’s Role in Fundamental Transformation

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Judiciary’s Role in Fundamental Transformation

On Nov. 21, 2013, on a near party-line vote, the Democratic-controlled United States Senate eliminated the possibility of a filibuster on confirmation votes for many federal appointments. The new rule allows nominations for most executive positions and all lower court federal judgeships to move forward in the Senate with a simple majority vote rather than the 60 votes needed to end a filibustered nomination. Although he opposed an identical proposal to change the Senate rules in 2005, President Obama was quick to take advantage of the new rule, now that it could be used to his benefit. In a little more than a year since this rule change, its effect on the federal judiciary has been significant. Nine of the 13 federal courts of appeal now have a majority of judges who were appointed by anti-gun presidents.

While a president’s party affiliation is not necessarily determinative of how his judicial appointees will decide cases, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were behind all the Democrat appointments of currently active federal judges. These presidents are no friends of the Second Amendment, and Clinton and Obama in particular adamantly pursue gun control. To assume this agenda wouldn’t influence their judicial appointments is dangerously naïve.

Many gun owners understand the importance of appointing Supreme Court justices who will faithfully interpret the Constitution, but the importance of lower court appointments, especially to the federal circuit courts of appeal, is often overlooked. Because of the sheer number of federal cases, lower court decisions often set the tone of constitutional debates and establish the rules under which people live for years. Lower federal courts have decided cases on important issues from whether the right to bear arms applies outside the home to the scope of protections provided by federal interstate transportation of firearm laws. The total list of gun-law issues currently pending before lower courts is too long to list here, but these examples illustrate the importance of keeping anti-gun partisans off the bench.

The Supreme Court itself illustrates how a president’s viewpoint can resonate through his judicial picks. In 2010, Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined the dissent in the landmark McDonald case, arguing that there is no constitutional right to own a firearm. And earlier this year, Justice Elena Kagan wrote an opinion affirming the conviction of a former police officer for buying a firearm for his uncle, even though both men successfully passed background checks before receiving the firearm. Opinions such as these from the high court only serve to embolden anti-gun judges throughout the federal judiciary.

Federal judges often serve as a legacy for the presidents who appoint them and the senators who confirm them. A federal judgeship is essentially an appointment for life, subject only to impeachment by Congress. Judges often remain on the bench for decades after the presidents who appointed them have left office. As an example of how long this can be, several judges who were appointed by President Kennedy remain in the federal judiciary on senior status (i.e., in a semi-retired role). These judges illustrate that it’s entirely possible for a president to have an impact on the legal landscape for more than a half-century.

As Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., told the New York Times earlier this year, the filling of judicial vacancies “will affect America for a generation, long after the internecine battles on legislative issues are forgotten.” One of those “internecine battles” that Schumer was likely referring to was his failed attempt to pass a number of expansive gun control measures out of the Senate last year. He clearly sees the recent spike in appointments—thanks largely to the elimination of the filibuster he supported—as a backdoor opportunity to shape our nation’s gun laws in a way that he has been unable to accomplish through legislation. Anti-gun Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., went even further, commenting on “the need to have people there that are of an ideological like mind.”

The midterm elections have now been decided, but the struggle for freedom continues. The appointment of judges can, as much as anything, contribute to President Obama’s stated goal of “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”  This is yet another reason gun owners must stay informed, alert and involved. Now, more than ever, your NRA is here to help you understand where the battle for freedom will be joined.

IN THIS ARTICLE
Chris W. Cox
TRENDING NOW
Biden Reiterates Call to Ban 9mm Handguns

News  

Monday, July 26, 2021

Biden Reiterates Call to Ban 9mm Handguns

During a July 21 CNN “presidential town hall,” Joe Biden expressed his support for a ban on commonly-owned handguns. Responding to a question about the recent increase in violent crime, the career politician stated,

Great Expectations, Empty Promises: Gun Control in Washington State

News  

Monday, July 26, 2021

Great Expectations, Empty Promises: Gun Control in Washington State

For years, voters in the Evergreen State have been assured that if only they approve certain gun control ballot initiatives, they would “save lives” and reduce crime. The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR), the organization pushing ...

How Anti-Gun Research Works

News  

Monday, July 26, 2021

How Anti-Gun Research Works

The objective world mistrusts most gun policy research because it’s clear the objective is to produce an anti-gun outcome rather than honest analysis. Politicians and professional activists claim the mantle of evidence but will ignore ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

St. Louis Prosecutor Kim Gardner Ignores Violent Crime While Playing Politics with Gun Owners

News  

Monday, July 26, 2021

St. Louis Prosecutor Kim Gardner Ignores Violent Crime While Playing Politics with Gun Owners

Similar to many other urban areas of the country, St. Louis saw a dramatic increase in homicide in 2020. The Gateway to the West’s homicide rate per 100 thousand residents exploded from 64.5 in 2019 to 87.2 in 2020. The homicide ...

Students “School” Antigun Education Officials on Civil Rights, Receive Large Settlements in Court Cases

News  

Monday, July 19, 2021

Students “School” Antigun Education Officials on Civil Rights, Receive Large Settlements in Court Cases

Last September we reported on the saga of Ka'Mauri Harrison, a Louisiana elementary school student who was suspended for having a BB gun that happened to come into view while the fourth grader was participating in online ...

Louisiana: Betrayal at the Capitol

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Louisiana: Betrayal at the Capitol

Yesterday, SB 118, Constitutional Carry, was defeated due to several Senators reversing their initial vote of support on the bill.  Two of the Senators who flip-flopped were Senators Patrick Connick (SD-8) and Louie Bernard (SD-31). 

NRA-ILA Applauds Rep. Claudia Tenney and U.S. House of Representatives’ Amicus Brief Supporting Second Amendment Case Before Supreme Court

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

NRA-ILA Applauds Rep. Claudia Tenney and U.S. House of Representatives’ Amicus Brief Supporting Second Amendment Case Before Supreme Court

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court decided to hear the NRA-ILA backed case challenging New York’s restrictive concealed-carry-licensing regime. NRA-ILA’s opening brief is located here.

Forty-Three Amicus Briefs Filed In Support OF NRA-ILA Backed Second Amendment Case Before Supreme Court

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Forty-Three Amicus Briefs Filed In Support OF NRA-ILA Backed Second Amendment Case Before Supreme Court

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court decided to hear the NRA-ILA backed case challenging New York’s restrictive concealed-carry-licensing regime. And just last week, NRA-ILA filed the opening brief in this crucial case, which is located here.

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Monday, June 30, 2014

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.